Skip to main content
The Wellmark Foundation logo

From asthma to Air Climbs, volunteering for meaningful change

Operations Business Support Analyst Hilary Whitfield has been volunteering since she was a Girl Scout in second grade. Her troop leader shared how giving back is vital to the community. Hilary, seeing at a young age how much of a difference volunteering truly makes, has made it one of her missions to give her time to an organization that means a lot to her and her family.

“I have dealt with asthma my whole life and my father was also diagnosed with severe asthma,” she said. “Because of that and having some very close family friends who passed away from lung cancer, it means a lot to our family to give back to the American Lung Association.”

When Hilary’s sister was a senior in high school, she needed volunteer hours for honor society, and they decided as a family to volunteer together. This year is their 10th year volunteering at the Fight for Air Climb event.

The Fight for Air Climb event, supports healthy lungs and clean air by encouraging individuals to simply, take the stairs. This month, participants and volunteers climbed 834 steps at Principal Park in Des Moines, IA for the 2022 Fight for Air Climb. Funding raised by the event supports the American Lung Association's research, educational and advocacy efforts.

“My first few years at the Fight for Air Climb event I volunteered to be a ‘line leader,’” said Hilary. “It included lining up the stair climbers for their start times and taking them to the first building. Today, I am on the volunteer committee as a ‘lead of the police/fire departments’ team and I prepare them for the climb.”

Giving more with BluesCareSM Giving

Hilary, who has worked at Wellmark for eight years, enjoys using The Wellmark Foundation’s BluesCare Giving℠ program to give back not only to the American Lung Association but also to other local nonprofits. Hilary has also designated dollars from her Personal Volunteer Time to support Community Youth Concepts, a Des Moines-based nonprofit, and their creation of a food pantry in the Drake neighborhood.

“BluesCare Giving is easy to use,” she said. “Submitting my hours after each event feels seamless after each submission. I volunteer regardless of the program, however because The Foundation offers BluesCare Giving I get to donate to organizations that mean something to me.”

To find out if your nonprofit organization is eligible for the BluesCare Giving program, contact